It hit the European Virtual Console last Friday or so, and today we got it for ourselves!
Shining Force II is a game that I probably shouldn’t have a whole lot of familiarity with. As you probably heard in our first episode (and then on my personal Top 10 list), it was Final Fantasy VII that got me most interested in playing additional RPGs. A few years earlier, though, I dipped my toes into the pool with this game.
I actually didn’t own the game myself, but instead played it on the Sega Channel. I loved the game so much that I refused to save any other games from month-to-month, just in case Shining Force II disappeared for a little while.
(As an explanation, the Sega Channel was basically an on-demand gaming service offered by a couple cable TV providers in the mid 1990s. You rented a device from them, plugged it into the top of your Genesis, and plugged a cable cord into it. They refreshed games every month. There would be about 50 or so, and they would rotate in and out. A game may be there one month, gone the next, and then right back again the following month. However, you could only save one game at a time. If I wanted to play Shining Force II and keep my save indefinitely, I couldn’t save any other game.)
I won’t lie. What I really liked about the game was the cheat code that allowed you to control even the enemies. I couldn’t die. I could just breeze through the story and not worry about ever messing up. At the same time, though, there was a lot to love about the game. Whoever Motoaki Takenouchi is, their score was absolutely top-notch, and remains a favorite to this day (if you pay attention during podcast episodes, you may even see this love at work). From the blaring title screen music to the jazzy town music, it was all over the place in tone but had such a consistent feel to it.
The amount of characters was another thing I simply had never seen before in a game. What really flabbergasted me was using the aforementioned cheat code to also rename every single last character in the game… and then never actually getting around to meeting half of those characters. Holy crap!
The grid-based fighting system was also new to me, and something I still haven’t gotten myself back into ever again (never played any additional strategy/tactical RPGs).
Long story short, you are silly if you do not spend the measely 800 Wii Points to grab the game on Virtual Console. Even though the going price on eBay has come down over the last couple years, $8 is a steal. I can’t wait to re-live my junior high years with this game.
Once I get around to finishing Super Mario RPG, that is. Which I don’t have any time for right now. You know, getting married in two weeks and all.
Regardless of that fact, we have a podcast episode coming for you! That’s right… episode four should be making its way online sometime later this week. Half of it is going to be new material, and half of it is actually going to be recycled material… but only if you happen to have listened to a certain podcast episode on Daizenshuu EX a couple years ago. It’ll all make sense once it comes out!